Jumpin’ Stumps

1975 Stump Jumper ad.

1975 Stump Jumper ad.

For you younger bass anglers out there, have you ever wondered how the equipment you use today got the way it is? For example, why, by God, does every trolling motor have those big-arsed springs on the mount? Well, if you’re halfway as smart as a turnip, you know they’re to protect your motor shaft from breaking if you inadvertently hit something under the water.

But was that spring assembly always there?  NOPE.

Back in the old days – when we had to walk to school barefooted, uphill, in the snow, both ways – trolling motors didn’t have these spring assemblies. Because of this, every so often when you were crankin’ a bank and not payin’ attention to what was in front of you, you’d hit sumthin’ under the water and if it was big enough it’d stop the forward movement of the boat, you’d go flyin’ into the water and when you got back up on deck, you’d see your trollin’ motor shaft was shaped like an Utz pretzel.

Then Don Norton, a two-time Classic angler and owner of Johnny Reb, invented the Stump Jumper.  What’s interesting about the ad is you can immediatly tell what trolling motor Norton used since the Stump Jumper was designed for any and all 12- and 24-volt Motor Guides. Of course, with some manipulation it could be fit to other trollers.

The Stump Jumper became such an instrumental tool for the trolling motor it wasn’t long after that that trolling motor companies started designing their own shock systems on their boats – and I bet Mr. Norton did pretty well in the process with licensing fees. At least I hope he did.

  • paul wallace

    Not to mention that you had to be very adept at removing and re-installing those push/pull 10 speed bicycle gear like wires through the foot control/head mount pulley system….gees, I don’t miss those days..